Eileen Wilks begins a promising new paranormal series in this solidly written, if not especially original release.
As in the Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake books, Ms. Wilks sets her story in a world in which the paranormal is real, recognized, and fraught with political intrigue. Psychically gifted San Diego police detective Lily Yu is called to the scene of an especially brutal murder most probably committed by a werewolf. Though werewolves now have full rights under the law, the news that a rogue beast might have killed a human could result in unpleasant political consequences for both humans and lupi alike, so Lily and her superiors are eager to solve the crime as quickly as possible.
Lily soon finds herself at Club Hell, one of those joints where humans who like to walk a little on the wild side mingle with werewolves, sorcerers, and the like. There she meets the charismatic Rule Turner, a prince of the werewolves and a master of public relations. Well known to readers of the tabloids and People Magazine, Rule is a womanizing werewolf poster boy whose glamorous exploits are eagerly followed by millions of ravenous (sorry) women.
Unfortunately for Rule, the murder victim was married to the young woman with whom he’s currently having an affair, making Rule an immediate and logical suspect. But, despite Lily’s more than understandable suspicions and distrust, the two soon find themselves working together – reluctantly on Lily’s part – to solve the crime and, not surprisingly, explore the powerful attraction between them that neither one can deny.
To be honest, a lot of this seemed familiar to me – the sexy beastly hero, the paranormal tourist trap, the heroine uncomfortable with her own psychic abilities, the alternative world fraught with political intrigue – but sometimes familiar is, well, familiar. What I mean to say here is that while no real original paths are explored, the author is a talented one who knows how to spend a page-turning story. I was more than entertained in her capable hands.
According to the author’s afterword, the characters of Rule and Lily were first introduced in the author’s Only Human novella. But, while both had fictional lives before, Lily, frankly, fares considerably better as a fully three-dimensional character than Rule. A young Asian-American woman who some on the San Diego PD believe to be promoted beyond her abilities, she’s eager to prove herself and more than ready to do whatever it takes to make certain it happens. Her family struggles also struck me as real – a conservative mother desperate to see her daughter follow the more conventional paths followed by her siblings contrasted with a decidedly out there grandmother who dabbles (well, more than dabbles) in all manner of paranormal pursuits. As the series proceeds, I’m quite certain Granny will be right in the middle of the action. Oh, and Lily has a really neat cat, too, who somehow maneuvers Rule into spending substantial amounts of time sucking up to him as part of his determined efforts to get on Lily’s good side. (That’s right, Rule, the way to a woman’s heart is often through her cat.)
For some reason, though, I had difficulty connecting closely with Rule, who seemed all glam and sex appeal. This may have something to do with the fact that scenes involving his family and clan consisted of a lot of convoluted dialogue that sometimes caused me to glaze over – you know, ponderous sentences loaded with all those made-up words so beloved to authors creating their own elaborate paranormal mythology. Still, he’s sexy and fun and promises to be an intriguing character to follow in upcoming books.
The bottom line here is simple: Tempting Danger is a somewhat formulaic tale in the hands of a gifted writer and, even though you may have been down this road a time or two before, the book is a solid read and more than a safe bet for those who enjoy paranormals.